This time, Pig-Min did an e-mail Interview with Jens Bergensten, who is Lead Programmer of Oxeye Game Studio. Recently they released [Harvest], kinda "Arcade Strategy game", and it supports several languages, even Korean.

Korean version of this Interview

Oxeye Game Studio homepage

Worth to try Demo, even if you don't purchase.

1. First of all, please introduce your game production Oxeye Game Studio & recent game [Harvest].

My name is Jens Bergensten and I'm the lead programmer at Oxeye Game Studio, a Swedish independent game developer.

We have four more members, Daniel Brynolf (artwork), Pontus Hammarberg (artwork), Alexander Persson (Mac programming) and Jonas Johnsson (programming). The music has been composed by Steve Olofsson.

Our game, Harvest : Massive Encounter, is an "arcade strategy game" in the sense that it's a RTS with continously increasing difficulty (like arcade games of the
80's) and high-scores.

2. [Harvest] was released several times to the Public, before official version came out. Prototype / 1st. Open Beta / 2nd. Open Beta, and finally released for sale. I can't remember any other games, released to the Public several times before sale. There might be some advantages & disadvantages about such a policy. Please let us know about that.

The first couple of versions were released mostly for fun. We had made a small prototype and wanted to share it with our Dawn of Daria fans. Then Pontus thought we should submit it to the Swedish Game Awards, and when we won a prize there the prototype version got some attention and was spread across the Internet. We decided that we should publish more test versions of the game, so when the "real" development began we already had plans for the first open beta.

We hoped that by sharing a playable version early on, we would be able to establish connections with publishers and other third part companies that would be interested in helping us with the game in the future. We also wanted to use the beta version as a marketing tool, since people are much more likely to tell their friends about a free
version than a shareware game. This worked quite nicely, the game got attention in a lot of game forums.

When we made the second open beta the objective was slightly different. This time we wanted to make sure that the game was well-balanced and "bug-free". This was quite fun, but didn't receive the same attention as the first beta. It didn't help us make the game bug-free either, because (I believe) many people who ran across bugs never told us about them.

I can strongly recommend publishing at least one open beta, it's really worth it. Independent developers should see it as a marketing strategy and not worry about "lost sales". However, there's always cases where it's not feasible, such as when you make a story-driven game. You don't want to spoil the story, and the beta should focus on the gameplay.

3. [Harvest] is somewhat unique game, RTS & Defense mixed up. How come to think about such concept? Even if it's fusion of older genres, it might NOT be so easy to do that.

This is kind of funny actually.

The original game was called "Harvest", because it was intended to be a game about harvesting resources and managing electricity. The challenge of the game was intended to be "how do I get my power lines to reach the resources..." However, this wasn't very much fun, so we simply added an enemy which looked like a green goblin head. We then needed some kind of counter, of course, and it didn't take long before we had both defense towers and missile turrets.

So I guess the reason why the game feels unusual is because we started out from something completely different.

4. [Harvest] is available in several languages, English / French / Dutch / German / Swedish and even Korean. There were some Casual Games which had Korean language before, but they had distribution channel in Korea. [Harvest] doesn't have any official channel over here in Korea, but you included that. Are there any reasons about that? Maybe too many Korean people played Open Beta in the past?

During the beta versions we got a lot of visitors from and We thought this was great and wanted to reach out to even more Korean players by supporting your language in the game.

It was difficult to make Korean work in the game due to font problems, and we had to buy a translation, so we are not sure if it will pay off. Like you said, a distribution channel would probably make it easier, but Harvest has just recently been released so we might still find somebody to cooperate with.

In any case, we enjoy the Korean version. To us Swedes, the Korean version of Harvest looks really cool ;)

5. Korean language question again. Many Pig-Min readers is curious about WHO did Korean translation, and HOW it could be so excellent. It's almost perfect, and that translation quality is much better than even some major game, as [Call of Duty 4] Korean version. So we are all shocked, and became curious. Please let us know about Deep story for Korean translation.

We requested a translation through a service called GetAFreelancer and got a lot of responses. In the end we decided to ask a translator who said he was a StarCraft player and lived in Australia. We thought the combination sounded good (Korean, Australian and StarCraft), but he wasn't the cheapest choice, so I'm very happy that you say that the translation is well done.

I think the main problem with translations is that the translator never plays the game so he/she will not see the translation in it's correct context. We were very lucky that our translator played and enjoyed Harvest, and could make suitable corrections.

We will probably ask him again if we are going to translate more games to Korean :)

6. [Harvest] won Swedish Game Awards 2007, so there might be some HUGH game scene including Indie Games, in Sweden. But all we know about Sweden is, Black & Death Metal bands as Opeth / Arch Enemy / At the Gates. Please let us know about Swedish Game scene, including Indie Games.

Haha, I don't listen to that kind of music, but I guess you are right :)

We didn't actually win, we got the second place. The winners (Puzzlegeddon) still hasn't released their game, because they are looking for publishers to bring the game on consoles (I think).

But you are right, the Swedish indie scene is huge.

Clean Asia, Noitu Love 2 and Fret Nice were all Swedish IGF finalists this year. On the shareware/more commercial market we have ArcadeLab, Silent Grove Studios (Dawnspire) and Frictional Games (Penumbra Overture).

7. You released [Harvest] recently, but you were making another game in the same time, [Dawn of Daria]. It's MMO game, very different from your other works. Please let us know about that.

Daria's our little darling project, but it's uncertain what will happen to it now.

8. Please recommend 5 GOOD games, and the reason why.

I read in a blog the other day about somebody who hadn't played StarCraft. I mean, really now... double-wee tee eff :) (Can't you produce another great Zerg player? Flash is stomping around over all competition!)

Another major game we like is Fallout. It's a fantastic RPG with a detailed world, great atmosphere (much thanks to the music) and good replay value. Bethesda better not mess up this one!

On the indie puzzle side, I would recommend Chocolate Castle by Lexaloffle. It's cute, easy to play and only a 2 MB download.

Among the real oldies, I love Mega Man (Rock Man) on the NES.

And finally, Aquaria by Bit Blot, of course. I've played through it two times, once "for real", then as a speed run. Took about 2 hours, but I haven't bothered to beat the final boss because it's tricky without the jellyfish suit :) I also made some mistakes, so I should try to make an even faster run one day.

9. Did you try some Korean games, or even heard or experienced about them? If so, please share your thoughts about that.

The only one I've tried is Ragnar?k (which means "armageddon" in Swedish), but that was a long time ago. I guess the problem is the language barrier again, because I have a hard time surfing Korean sites :)

10. Please leave some message for Pig-Min readers.

Hello! =)

Korean version of this Interview

Oxeye Game Studio homepage
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